In New Mexico, our resources are considered our most valuable asset. Although once rich with an abundance of water, we are quickly losing one of our greatest resources by assuming our water is safe, secure and protected. Our state is developing a 50-year water plan to combat drought, and yet when a project like Cow Creek Ranch submits proposals for a development that impacts our resources, water seems to be the very last area for concern.
The Cow Creek Ranch development is a major issue for many reasons. The water that flows through Cow Creek is shared by many downstream. Wildlife and our communities depend on it for agricultural, grazing, irrigation and farming, and it has been a resource to our traditional communities for generations. The argument that the property owner should be able to make choices about his own property goes out the window when it directly affects everyone downstream. A project of this magnitude, even scaled down, is threatening our ecosystems and the way of life for our acequias and traditional communities. Our culture and languages will again be put to the test as careless outsiders who don’t respect our values will continue to place stress on our fragile ecosystems. We need to find a balance between development and responsible growth that will preserve our ecosystems, celebrate our culture and allow our traditional communities to thrive.
Ralph Vigil, Chairman, New Mexico Acequia Association
This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.